For only the second time in 348 career starts on the PGA Tour, Briny Baird felt he was poised to win a tournament before falling agonisingly short Sunday at the Frys.com Open.
Seeking his maiden victory on the U.S. circuit, journeyman Baird was beaten by fellow American Bryce Molder on the sixth hole of a sudden-death playoff after missing a seven-foot birdie putt for the title four holes earlier.
I'm happy, and I'm very disappointed, Baird told reporters after watching Molder sink a six-footer for birdie at the par-four 18th to claim his own breakthrough success on the PGA Tour.
I know how long I've played, and I lost my concentration one time today and it was one of the putts that I had to win the golf tournament. I looked ahead, and that was a mistake, he said, referring to a missed birdie opportunity on the second extra hole.
I don't know if I missed the putt because of that or what, but I did some really good things today. I was happy with the good things, I'm not happy with the outcome, but what are you going to do?
Baird, who had led by two shots going into the final round at CordeValle Golf Club, closed with a four-under-par 67 to finish level with Molder at 17-under 267.
Four times previously Baird had been a runner-up on the PGA Tour but only once - at the 2001 John Deere Classic - did he feel capable of clinching the title.
The other times...I didn't feel like I was out there to win the tournament, Baird, 39, said. I was ready for the tournament to kind of fall back to me.
Today I felt like I was out there to win the tournament. I hit some shots when I really needed to hit some shots, and for me that's a big deal. There's a hurdle that I overcame today.
Baird appeared to have the title in his grasp in regulation play after he chipped in to eagle the drivable par-four 17th but Molder joined him at 17 under with a birdie at the last.
Going into the day, it was like a lot of Sundays I've gone into, Baird said. I wasn't feeling great, but I figured if I could just stick to my game plan and stick with a routine...
And I did that really, really good. I played good.